A Trip to the KORITE Mine + Limited Edition Treasures!
Join KORITE on a tour of our mine, just outside of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada! From this mine, KORITE sources the majority of the world’s Ammolite gemstones, for use in our gorgeous jewelry and hand specimens. Walk with us as we explore the bounty of nature and unearth some rare and beautiful treasures.
The images you see were also captured during a walk along the edge of the riverbed adjacent to KORITE’s mine. Originally, all Ammolite mining was done with hand tools in this manner; exploring and discovering deposits of Ammolite with only the most rudimentary methods. We love to get the chance to relive the past and experience Ammolite mining in this way! And as a special treat, we have created a Special Edition one-off Collection of hand mined Ammolite specimens, collected during the mining journey we are featuring today!
What is Ammolite?
First, let’s make sure we have a quick refresher on the star of the show; the Ammolite gemstone! Ammolite is a newcomer to the world of precious gemstones, being recognized officially in 1981 by the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO). Ammolite is a form of aragonite that is obtained from vivid iridescent fossilized ammonite shells mined almost exclusively in Alberta, Canada.
Ammolite was discovered initially in 1906 by the Geological Survey of Canada.The gem material, from the extinct Ammonite sea creature, is found only in certain horizons of the Bearpaw Formation of Late Cretaceous age (roughly 71 million years old!). Because the iridescent layer is quite precious and fragile, Ammolite needs to be stabilized and handled carefully at the KORITE mine. Indigenous Canadians refer to Ammolite as the “Buffalo Stone”, others refer to Ammolite as the “Energy Stone”, “Spirit Stone” or “7 Colour Prosperity Stone”.
KORITE Mining Practices & Zones
There are two main zones to know about when mining Canadian Ammolite. The first is the “K Zone”. The K Zone exists about 15 meters below the surface and extends 30 metres down. Ammolite within this layer is covered by siderite concretions and is usually cracked and fractured through deposition—this is known as “matrix lines”, which are normal to see but exist in higher concentrations within the K Zone. KORITE does not generally mine in the K Zone.
Further down, roughly 20-65 meters deeper into the ground resides “Zone 4” or the “Blue Zone”. This zone is where the most high-quality Ammolite is found, and it’s where KORITE sources much of our supply. In this zone, we are able to find “Sheet Ammolite” which comprises our highest grade pieces, and contains little to no matrix lines, while displaying many vibrant color tones.
Within our mining efforts, KORITE is proud to use ethical mining practices. When a suitable site is discovered, the land is carefully excavated to allow KORITE to extract the Ammolite gemstones without disturbing the nearby land. When we are finished, the land and mining sites are restored completely to their natural state. It’s as if nobody had moved a single blade of grass!
Thank you for joining us on this tour of the KORITE mine and learning about how KORITE discovers and procures one of earth’s rarest gemstones; Ammolite! If you are interested in purchasing one of the Hand-Mined Ammonite Specimens you see above, check out our Limited-Edition collection page now!